Pakistan: CII declares laws prohibiting underage marriage as un-Islamic


The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) on Tuesday ruled that Pakistani laws prohibiting marriage of underage children are un-Islamic.

At the end of its two-day session on Tuesday, the CII said there is no minimum age of marriage according to Islam.

Islam does not forbid marriage of young children, the council said. However, the Rukhsati (consummation of marriage) is only allowed in the case that both husband and wife have reached puberty.

The CII’s ruling comes a day after its chairman Maulana Mohammad Khan Sheerani said laws regarding second marriage of a man in the presence of a first wife were against religious principles.

“Sharia allows men to have more than one wife and we demanded that the government should amend the law,” he told reporters after a CII meeting.

The laws require a man to have written approval from his existing wife or wives for another marriage.

Sheerani urged the government to formulate Sharia-compliant laws related to nikah, divorce, adulthood and ‘will’.

The CII is a constitutional recommendatory body that advises parliament in the law-making process, but cannot enact laws on its own. According to Pakistani laws, the minimum age for marriage is 18 years for a male and 16 years for a female.


6 replies

  1. as a comparison: In UK:

    Marriage, in England and Wales, is legally recognised in the forms of both civil and religious unions. The legal minimum age to enter into a marriage in England and Wales is sixteen years although this requires parent consent if a participant is between the ages of sixteen and eighteen.

  2. Dear MT
    I am visiting Pakistan at present and following the debate of second marriage without the permission of the first wife and lowering the age of Nikkah.
    There is no chance in hell for any of these suggestion to be taken up by the law makers for the simple reason that many religious scholars are against it as well as there is no public support. In a survey published dat before yesterday, 90 percent public said no to second wife proposal.

    I also met many eminent religious scholars who came to attend my lecture at the Danish Embassy on 12 March. The title was; How to create an inter-faith society in Pakistan.
    I came out of the event with this impression that many religious scholars are smRy people and do want to have an inclusive society. The Imam of the Badshai Musque actually narrated how his team went to Joseph Colony in Lahore to protect the Christians who were being harassed by opportunistic property developers.
    I shall write a bigger piece on my impressions of Pakistan.

    Kind regards

    • Islamic teaching of course strongly encourages that when any man marries more than one wife he must try his utmost to treat all of them equal. Obtaining the permission of the first wife? I am not aware than this is a requirement based on any Islamic reference. And why not? Even if the first wife should give permission she may later regret it. At the time of granting the permission she does not really know what she is getting into (both emotionally and otherwise). In other words: To obtain such a permission is tricky at best …

  3. Sajid Zafar Hussain was suspended from his post at Spark hill’s Jamatia Islamic Centre after agreeing to arrange the wedding of a 14-year-old girl.

    An imam caught agreeing to marry off a 14-year-old girl has been welcomed back to his mosque job, despite protests from worshippers. Sajid Zafar Hussain has spent the past month suspended from his post at the Jamatia Islamic Centre on Woodlands Road, Spark hill. He was caught on film agreeing to arrange the wedding ceremony by undercover TV reporters posing as the mother and brother of the schoolgirl. Mr Hussain was immediately suspended by the mosque but the Mail has discovered he was allowed to return to work last Monday.

    The ITV Exposure programme visited 56 mosques across the country and asked clerics to perform an Islamic marriage ceremony, known as a nikah. Mr Hussain and imams at 17 other mosques agreed.

    According to Islam, a girl must be married as soon as she gets her period. The hypocrisy of the Western society is clearly seen whereas an Australian Judge failed to jail nine males who admitted gang-raping a 10-year old aborigine girl in 2005, saying the victim probably agreed to have sex with them and a UNICEF Photo of the year shows, a bridegroom, 40, with his 11-year old bride in Afghanistan. In my opinion, a UNICEF photo of the year must show a nine year British girl having a baby and another photo showing a gang of teenage girls with anti-social behaviour and vomiting out side a pub, thanks to binge drinking.

    Although the origin of the proverb “When in Rome…” is Christianity, they never preached accepting other people’s religious and social customs and following them, it was the Buddhists who came up with that. Why do Muslims follow it when the practicing Christians don’t?! If Muslims were to follow that, then what about dating? proms? boy/girlfriends? and other ills of the western countries?

    In terms of Muslim Schools well if Muslims want their children to attend a Muslim school then that is their choice. There are some Muslim schools that provide their pupils with high levels of achievement and others that do not, however this also applies to state and community schools too. So let’s not point the finger at Muslims for ruining the education system…instead, think of strategies to deal with scenario. The blame game never works. All the best. And how many state schools have been providing appalling education for years (even with ‘qualified’ teachers)? Quite a lot, according to Ofsted, and judging by the number in special measures. The difference is that they have been getting away with it for years because parents have no choice. The market solution allows such problems to be rectified quickly or the school will go out of business. With state schools, they just carry on.

    The tragedy of forced marriage and honour killing could have been avoided if the poor girls were educated in a single sex state funded Muslim schools by female Muslim teachers.The tragedies are an eye opener for all those. Muslim schools are crucial for Muslim children. Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods.They help to strengthen community cohesion, not undermine it. Muslim schools stand as shining beacons of light, serving as one of the most crucial factors which protect Muslim children from the onslaught of Eurocentricism, homosexuality, racism and secular values and traditions.They need to be well versed in Standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. At the same time they need to be well versed in Arabic, Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultural roots and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry.
    London School of Islamics Trust

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